The story behind Hook’s innovative projected matte painting – 25 years ago

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Steven Spielberg’s Hook was released 25 years ago this week (it opened on December 11th, 1991) and at the time was one of ILM’s most intensive visual effects projects. VFX supe Eric Brevig oversaw a raft of flying scenes, matte paintings, models and even Go-Motion animation for Tinkerbell’s wings.

A major innovation on the show was the use of a projected matte painting in the sequence showing Peter (Robin Williams) flying towards Neverland – the first time a dimensional matte painting like that had been seen on film.

To celebrate Hook’s 25th anniversary, vfxblog caught up briefly with Stefen Fangmeier, then an ILM computer graphics supervisor, to discuss how that dimensional matte painting was achieved on the film. Continue reading The story behind Hook’s innovative projected matte painting – 25 years ago

The struggles – and successes – of Spawn

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After pioneering the development of CG characters at ILM on The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Jurassic Park, Mark Dippé took on the directing duties for Spawn, based on the comic by Todd McFarlane. He was joined on the production by vfx supervisor and ILM ‘partner-in-crime’ Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams. The New Line film was released on August 1st, 1997 and contained over 400 vfx shots – a huge amount at the time – that were completed by 22 companies, with ILM as the lead vendor.

Spawn was a much anticipated film, made at a time before the explosion in comic book movies. It was a tough shoot for the first time feature film director, and an ambitious production in terms of its visual effects. Dippé and Williams are speaking this week, with Scott Ross, at SIGGRAPH Asia about their work on Terminator 2. In the spirit of looking back and key visual effects projects, vfxblog spoke to them briefly about the challenges of bringing Spawn to the screen. Continue reading The struggles – and successes – of Spawn

Animator Tom St Amand reflects on 25 years of ‘The Rocketeer’

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Joe Johnston’s The Rocketeer was released 25 years ago today – on 21 June, 1991. Tom St Amand was ILM’s stop motion animator on the film and responsible for bringing to life an armatured version of the flying character which would then be composited into live action aerial plates. vfxblog asked St Amand to go back a quarter of a century and discuss how motion control, stop motion and optical effects made those dynamic shots possible.

Continue reading Animator Tom St Amand reflects on 25 years of ‘The Rocketeer’

‘Mission: Impossible’: ILM’s pioneering vfx 20 years on

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The Mission: Impossible spread from Masters of FX, detailing ILM and John Knoll’s work on the film, today celebrating its 20th anniversary.

1996 really was a big year in film releases and in vfx break-throughs. Mission: Impossible might not necessarily be thought of as a vfx blockbuster in the same vein as Twister or Independence Day from that year, but in many ways it ushered in several new techniques and drew upon a raft old ones to help tell this thrilling first story in the M:I franchise. Now 20 years old, here’s a quick look back at one particular technique – projecting mapping – that was used on the film at a time that the effect was still not all that common. Continue reading ‘Mission: Impossible’: ILM’s pioneering vfx 20 years on